The Critics’ Circle

Protecting and promoting cultural criticism since 1913

The Critics’ Circle believes impartial, professional criticism of the arts is an essential ingredient of a healthy society. The Circle today has 503 members shared between Theatre (117), Music (91), Film (151), Dance (57), Visual Arts (47) and Books (40). Admission to the Circle is by invitation from the Council.

Each year since 1988, the Circle has presented the Rosebowl for Distinguished Service to the Arts to an artist of conspicuous achievement. In 2019 the members voted for David Hockney, in 2020 for Dame Janet Baker and in 2021 for Daniel Barenboim.

The sections make their own awards in ceremonies which are significant social occasions, and hold periodic meetings and lunches to discuss their awards, propose new members, debate current issues and meet artists.

President: Robert Thicknesse
Vice-President: Alex Leith
Hon. General Secretary: Rick Jones
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Cargin
Trustees: Ian Herbert, Michael Billington, Peter Cargin

News & reviews


In the canon of western theatre there can hardly be a more powerful description of calculated evil than in Shakespeare’s Othello. The current production at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe is directed by Ola Ince with a touch of genius and elicits gasps...

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The motive and the cue

Hamlet is the subject of Jack Thorne’s thoughtful and moving new play, directed by Sam Mendes, at London’s Noel Coward Theatre until the end of March. The context is the 1964 Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Danish tragedy directed by Sir John Gielgud, played here...

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